Althoff Industries, Inc. Blog: Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Check Out Our Blog for Advice on All Things HVAC

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

Be sure to bookmark the Althoff Industries, Inc. blog to start learning the ins and outs of HVAC.

We’ll regularly post energy saving tips, how-to’s on troubleshooting your systems, and breakdowns on even the most complex industry related terms and concepts.

Need help now? Send us a message or get in touch today.

Continue Reading

Welcome to Our New Website

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

iMarket Solutions has launched Althoff Industries, Inc. new custom website. To learn more about how iMarket Solutions can expand your presence on the web visit:

Continue Reading

Should You Replace Your Boiler Pipes Along With Your Commercial Boiler?

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

Are you wondering if it’s time to replace your commercial boiler and thinking about replacing your boiler pipes along with the unit? Building owners and facility managers often choose boilers because they are extremely energy efficient when compared to other types of heating, and the boilers can be multi-functional, also providing reliable hot water to the residents and employees of your building. Of course, there’s a good chance that your boiler’s plumbing pipes were installed at the same time as your current boiler system. The good news is that you can determine if it’s time to replace the entire system, including the pipes, or just the boiler unit.

Signs You Need to Replace Your Commercial Boiler in Chicago

According to ASHRAE’s equipment life expectancy chart, commercial boilers are estimated to last between 24 and 30 years, but this depends on the type and style of your boiler and how well you’ve maintained it over the years.

Life Expectancy for Hot Water and Steam Boilers

If you had your current boiler installed between 1985 and 2005, there’s a good chance it’s time to replace it.

  • Cast Iron Boilers – Between 30 and 35 years
  • Electric Boilers – 15 years
  • Steel Fire-Tube Boilers – 25 years
  • Steel Water-Tube Boilers – Between 24 and 30 years

Additionally, the burners on commercial gas and electric-fired boilers are only rated to last 21 years. This means that even if your boiler is in good working order, you may need to have your burners inspected and repaired or replaced in order to ensure smooth, reliable operation.

Additional Signs Its Time To Replace Your Boiler

  • It’s RustingRusting is less common in closed-loop boilers that continuously reheat the same water repeatedly. However, if your boiler continuously heats new water due to its design or the fact that you also use your boiler to provide hot water to your residents, it will rust faster. A good way to determine if your boiler is rusting from the inside out is to have it regularly inspected. If the inside is heavily rusted, it’s time for a replacement.
  • You Needed Several Boiler Repairs Over the Last 12 to 24 months – An increase in the frequency of repairs and having to perform increasingly expensive repairs to keep your boiler functioning are a sure sign that you need to replace it.
  • Your Boiler is Losing Efficiency – In this instance, you’ve noticed that your boiler isn’t an energy or water-efficient as it was a few years ago. This could be due to leaks in the boiler itself or leaks in the plumbing pipes as well as a failure to maintain the correct water temperature in order to heat your radiators to the appropriate temperatures. If you’ve noticed an increase in your gas, electric and/or water bills, it’s time to start planning for a boiler replacement.

Signs You Should Also Replace the Piping System Connected to Your Boiler

If you’ve determined it is a good time to replace your boiler, it may also be a good time to replace the plumbing pipes that connect your boilers to the radiators in your tenant units and public spaces. Boiler plumbing pipes are rated to last between 20 and 80 years with proper maintenance. However, if you have a steam boiler, you may have trouble with the plumbing pipes slightly sooner. This is because over-pressuring can put an excess force on the pipes, causing them to wear out faster. If the pipes have experienced numerous leaks, oxygen can get into the system can cause steel or iron pipes to rust faster than expected, and depending on your water quality, copper pipes can start to corrode, resulting in blocked pipes and pinhole leaks.

Boiler Piping Considerations When Installing a New Boiler in Your Chicago Building

When installing a new energy-efficient boiler, it’s important to understand the current pipes and the piping system needed for the new boiler, even if your current pipes are within their expected useful lives and not experiencing any extreme corrosion or leaks. Common boiler piping systems include one pipe series loops, two-pipe direct return and two-pipe reverse return.

One-Pipe Loop

A one-pipe loop consists of a single piping network that loops from the boiler to the radiators in the building and back to the boiler. This is the simplest type of piping system for boilers, but it can result in uneven heating. This is because the radiators near the front of the loop receive the most heat, and as the hot water travels through the piping system, the water loses heat. For this reason, a properly designed one-pipe system contains larger radiators than other types of systems. It’s also important to note that single-pipe systems are often designed for steam boilers rather than hot water boilers.

Two-Pipe Direct Return

If you have a one-pipe system and are installing an energy-efficient hot water boiler, it may be a good idea to upgrade your piping system to a two-pipe direct return. This type of system contains two sets of pipes that run from the boiler to the radiators. In this system, hot water from the boiler is transferred to the radiator, but the used water is not sent to the next radiator. Instead, each radiator returns the used water to the boiler. This helps ensure that all the boilers receive the same water temperature, which results in more even heating across your building.

Two-Pipe Reverse Return

If you are installing a new boiler and plan to use zoning to help control your building’s heat and to reduce costs, you’ll want to install a two-pipe reverse return system. Like the two-pipe direct return, used water is not cycled through each boiler. Instead, it’s returned to the boiler, which helps ensure all boilers receive the same temperature water.

Getting Help From Althoff to Replace Your Boiler and the Pipes in a Timely Manner

Here at Althoff, our heating technicians and plumbers can help you decide what type of boiler to install in your commercial or multi-unit family building in Chicago and whether or not your boiler pipes need replaced or upgraded to a new system in order to provide your building with even heat and/or zoned heat. It all starts with an inspection of your current system, including the boiler and plumbing pipes leading to your radiator. Next, we’ll recommend several boiler systems, according to your min and max budgets and energy-efficiency requirements. Once you decide on a new boiler system, we will order it and schedule a date for the installation.

To learn more about replacing and/or upgrading your boiler or to request an emergency repair of your boiler, give us a call at 800-225-2443.

Continue Reading

5 Reasons to Start the Process of Upgrading Your Commercial HVAC Unit Today

Monday, March 2nd, 2020

Are you ready to start the process of replacing your rooftop HVAC unit? If you answered yes, you may be waiting until spring because you’ve been told no HVAC work can be performed until the outside temperature reaches a certain point. While that’s true, the process of getting an estimate, looking at your budget, choosing the right equipment and getting it installed can take months. This means that if you wait until early May to start contacting commercial HVAC contractors for estimates, you may not receive your new unit until the end of summer.

1. You Need Your New Unit by Summer

If your current HVAC system was malfunctioning or not energy-efficient last year, you’ve probably started thinking about replacing your rooftop HVAC system for the upcoming summer, and you probably think you have another three to four months to start calling contractors because it won’t be hot outside until the end of May. After all, if you’ve ever replaced your home HVAC unit, you know it only takes a few weeks to a month to get it installed. The truth is that commercial HVAC units take much longer to build and ship. This is because commercial heating and cooling equipment, especially rooftop units must be custom-built for the building, and depending on the upgrades and specific customizations needed for your large multi-family residential building, office building or commercial building, you could be looking at a lead time of eight weeks or longer. This means that if you place your order at the front of May, you may not receive your unit until the beginning of August.

2. The Refrigerant is No Longer Available

As of January 1, 2020, R-22 refrigerant is illegal, which means current supplies will deplete because it is no longer legal to manufacture or important Freon in the United States. In your current HVAC unit uses R-22, known by its brand name Freon, it’s a good idea to start considering upgrading your HVAC system to a new model that uses a different refrigerant.

3. Your Unit Has Become Extremely Energy Inefficient

As units age, they become less energy-efficient, which means your utility bills may have skyrocketed over the last few years. If this is the case, it’s probably due to excessively worn parts and a general degradation of the system over time. In order to provide your commercial building with reliable heating and cooling and lower your monthly overhead costs, you may want to consider replacing your unit before the start of the summer.

4. Your HVAC Repairs Are Starting to Exceed 25 Percent of the Unit’s Installation Cost

Have you performed a lot of expensive repairs on your current HVAC system? According to ACHRNews, it’s time to start thinking about replacing your unit if the repair costs to keep the unit running are exceeding 25 percent of its installation cost. Another factor is the unit’s age. Most commercial HVAC systems can be expected to last between 15 and 20 years. If you’ve had upgrades, retrofits and regular repairs performed, you may get as many as 30 years out of the unit. However, once the unit reaches two-thirds of its expected useful life, or is between 10 and 15 years old, it’s time to start thinking about replacing it with a more energy-efficient model.

5. You Want to Take Advantage of the HVAC Tax Credits

If you want to take advantage of the HVAC tax credits for businesses in 2020, you’ll need to start getting estimates for new commercial HVAC systems and rooftop units now. This is because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allows businesses to deduct 100 percent of the price of certain business and building equipment, including HVAC systems, but after 2022, this deduction decreases by 20 percent, and it is set to completely expire in 2027.

Getting Your New Rooftop Unit with Althoff, Serving Chicago

When it comes to getting your new commercial HVAC unit installed before the start of the summer cooling season, it’s best to start now, even though the temperatures outside are still freezing. This is because it can take months to receive your unit and get it installed after you choose your new unit.

The process starts with getting an estimate. Here at Althoff, we provide businesses with three estimates for commercial units. The first estimate is typically the least expensive but offers the least energy-efficiency. The second unit is typically midrange, offering a good installation cost and reasonable energy-efficiency, and the third unit typically offers the best energy-efficiency and the most customizations. Since we customize every estimate according to your needs and budget, and our HVAC system designers help choose the best systems, it can take a few days to get your estimate to you. Once you have the estimate, you may have to take it to the building owner or your board members and have them choose and approve the new system and allocate or approve the funding. This can take several more weeks.

Once you make a decision on which type of HVAC system would be best for your building, it can take up to eight weeks or longer to finalize the plans, add customizations and receive your unit from the manufacturer. If you start this process in May, even a quick decision from your board members, building owner or executive management team could result in getting your unit at the end of August instead of the first of June. By contrast, starting the process today by getting detailed estimates, could mean getting your new HVAC unit at the beginning of May, which means you could enjoy the benefits this summer instead of next summer.To learn more about the process of getting a new commercial HVAC system and to schedule a detailed, in-person estimate, give us a call today at 800-225-2443.

Continue Reading

The Difference Between Commercial and Residential HVAC Services for your Chicago Property

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Do you know the differences between residential HVAC and commercial HVAC? Knowing the differences can help you choose the right contractor for your routine maintenance, repairs and HVAC replacements.

Commercialv vs Residential HVAC Services for your Chicago Property

Residential HVAC

Residential HVAC contractors repair, replace and maintain central air conditioning and heating units on single-family homes. These units often contain an outdoor condenser that is located near an outside wall and is responsible for dissipating heat and an indoor unit that is responsible for filtering the air and pushing the cool air through the air ducts.

Commercial HVAC

Commercial HVAC units are much larger than residential HVAC units because they are needed to cool much larger spaces, and they must be repaired, maintained and installed by commercial HVAC contractors that are familiar with large systems. These units are typically located on rooftops, and depending on the size of the building, more than one rooftop unit may be installed. Unlike the residential HVAC system, the commercial rooftop unit is an all-in-one unit that contains everything needed to heat and cool the building. The only items located inside the commercial or large multi-story building are the air ducts and the thermostats.

The Primary Differences Between Commercial and Residential HVAC Units

There are three main differences between commercial and residential HVAC units, including the size of the units, the location and the expansion options.

1. Size and Power of the Unit

Commercial HVAC units are often much larger and much more powerful than their residential counterparts. This is because they must be able to heat, cool and dehumidify the occupied spaces of the building, which could range in size from 5,000 square feet to more than 100,000 square feet. By contrast, single-family residential homes average about 2,000 square feet, and their heating and cooling functions are often separate with the cooling functions being controlled by the central air conditioner and the heating functions controlled by a furnace or heat pump.

2. Location of the HVAC Unit

Because commercial HVAC units are so large, they are often located on rooftops to keep the bulky and oftentimes unsightly equipment out of view of the public. Rooftops also offer lots of room, which means multiple rooftop units can be easily connected together to add heating and cooling power. Residential HVAC units are rarely located on roofs. Instead, the inside parts of the unit are typically located inside an HVAC closet, and the outdoor unit is typically located near an exterior wall and connected to the interior unit via copper piping and electrical wiring.

3. Expansion Options

Residential HVAC units are not typically expandable. Instead, the residential HVAC technician chooses the right sized unit by calculated the occupied square feet, number of doors and windows and ceiling heights. Once the area to be cooled is known, the right sized unit can be purchased and installed. If expansions are performed on the house and additional cooling power is needed, the unit has to be replaced with a large HVAC system.

By contrast, commercial HVAC units are designed to be expandable. If the commercial building undergoes a renovation that increases the occupied square footage, additional rooftop units can be connected to the existing units in order to provide more heating and cooling power.

Residential and Commercial HVAC Services with Althoff

We are proud to be able to provide the entire city of Chicago and the surrounding communities with residential HVAC services and commercial HVAC services. Our residential and commercial heating and cooling technicians are experienced in repairing, replacing and maintaining all types of HVAC equipment from complex rooftop units located on multi-unit multi-story buildings to central units located outside single-family homes.

To talk to one of our HVAC technicians about replacing, repairing or maintaining your residential HVAC system, call us at 815-455-7000. To have your commercial HVAC system serviced, replaced or upgraded, call us at 800-225-2443.

Continue Reading